BCAA Amino Acids - in more detail

BCAA amino acids (abbreviation for English « branched - chain amino acids "- amino acids with branched side branches) - one of the essential food supplements of any bodybuilder

The BCAA amino acids, which differ in an atypical branching structure, include leucine, isoleucine, and also valine. As you know, our body alone is able to produce only part of the necessary amino acids, while others, without which it also cannot exist, must enter it from the outside. Such amino acids belong to the class of irreplaceable, and it is precisely BCAA that are among them. At the same time, it should be noted that they are contained in sufficiently large quantities in the products consumed by each person daily. It seems that making them artificially does not make any sense, but some time ago they still appeared on the market of food additives. Nevertheless, they did not receive popularity and wide distribution, since they yielded practically no result: neither in increasing mass, nor in increasing strength.

The next wave of interest in the BCAA rose after serious science came to bodybuilding, like most other sports. The search for stimulants that promote muscle growth and at the same time do not have a detrimental effect on the body, made us again turn to these amino acids. The fact is that an adult's body needs only 31 milligrams of leucine per kilogram of body weight, while the need for a growing child is almost fourteen times greater - 425 milligrams. In the case when the child’s body is deficient in BCAA, its growth stops completely, since these amino acids are necessary to regulate protein synthesis.

Thus, it becomes completely clear why BCAA intake did not give the proper result earlier: just in order for the body to stimulate growth, a huge amount of these amino acids must enter it. Studies have shown that only mega-doses (a single serving can reach up to 15 grams) BCAAs are effective as a stimulator of muscle growth. At the same time, amino acids begin to behave like directed medications. Thus, penetrating into the cell nucleus, leucine promotes the activation of genes that are responsible for the growth of protein. However, in an adult's body, BCAA is not easy to break through the closed doors of muscle cells, which, protecting genes, pass amino acids inside in extremely limited quantities. But when performing physical exercises, the situation changes dramatically.

Strength training enhances metabolic processes, and a variety of biochemical substances necessary for its growth and vital activity begin to enter the cell. At the same time, the outer membrane of the cell at this time somewhat weakens its defense, which allows undesirable "guests" to enter, including the BCAA amino acids. That is why it is extremely important to take them immediately after training. At this time, by pouring a large stream into the cells of muscle fibers, they will contribute to the launch of anabolic genes, which have been in a state of sleep since adolescence.

In addition, scientists were able to detect many other useful properties in amino acids with branched side branches:


  • 1 1. The increase in the number of hormones
  • 2 2. Energy boost
  • 3 3. Decrease body fat and increase muscle mass
  • 4 4. Analgesic effect
  • 5 5. Reduced recovery period
  • 6 BCAA - video review

1. The increase in hormones

As you know, training is more effective the harder, but there are also negative aspects to high loads. The fact is that physical activity is stress for the body, any stress, especially prolonged, ultimately leads to a decrease in testosterone secretion, while catabolic hormones, on the contrary, increase. That is why many bodybuilders at some point become stagnant, and the muscles stop growing. To avoid this, it is recommended to conduct short training cycles with breaks, without bringing your hormonal system to a crisis. At the same time, it is advisable to take BCAA amino acids, the regular intake of which allows you to reverse the process: increase the concentration of testosterone in the blood and reduce the production of catabolic hormones. Naturally, all this is possible only if megadoses of BCAAs are consumed immediately after training.

2. The increase in energy

Not all types of “fuel”, from which energy is subsequently extracted, the human body has the ability to store for future use, like glycogen. For example, the main intracellular energy source, adenosine triphosphate (ATP), is synthesized in the cells of muscle fibers directly during physical exercises. At the same time, ATP burns out much faster than transport intracellular processes occur. As a result of the delay in delivering “raw materials” for the formation of the next portion of energy phosphates, muscle fatigue begins to appear, and the athlete has to finish the training. Upon receiving a signal of a catastrophically low level of energy reserves in the body, the adrenal glands begin to produce catabolic hormones that break apart muscle protein molecules, and the amino acids released during this process are used to maintain metabolism and increase energy levels. To prevent the destruction of muscle cells, it is necessary to take BCAAs before training, the presence of which will save the body from the need to synthesize catabolic hormones.

3. Decrease body fat and increase muscle mass

As already mentioned, amino acids with branched side branches can be used by our body as a source of muscle energy. This is their property worth taking note of those bodybuilders who strive to maintain their muscle mass during the period of tight "drying". It should be noted that during the experiment, when athletes sitting on a low-calorie diet received BCAAs, it was found that these amino acids not only protect the muscles from self-eating, they also contribute to the reduction of fat reserves, processing them into energy.

4. Analgesic effect

As you know, the pain felt after intense training in the muscles is caused by microtrauma of the muscle fibers. They have unequal thickness and some of them are torn, unable to withstand the voltage. In the places of ruptures, point inflammations arise, which become sources of pain. Despite the fact that after a few days this pain goes away on its own, it is quite unpleasant, and some athletes take all kinds of analgesics to reduce it. However, most of these drugs are quite toxic, and some completely block muscle growth. Significantly more useful is the intake of BCAA amino acids, which, although they do not completely relieve pain, they significantly reduce it.

5. Reducing the recovery period

Our muscles contain a fairly large amount of BCAA amino acids - up to a fifth of the total. As a result of the studies, it was possible to find out that during the performance of strength exercises there is an active consumption of BCAAs, therefore, restoration includes not only replenishment of glycogen stores in the liver, but also reproduction of the initial level of BCAAs in muscle fibers. Thus, it is possible to achieve a significant acceleration of the recovery process by taking food additives containing these amino acids. In addition, due to this, the athletic potential of the muscles increases, and the next training session can be carried out more intensively.

In the course of scientific research, it was found that the most powerful anabolic among the three BCAA amino acids is leucine. Penetrating into the cell nucleus, it exerts an exciting effect on anabolic genes, due to which protein synthesis starts in the muscle cell. Leucine is vital for muscle growth, and when it is deficient, their development stops. However, it must be understood that all BCAAs can be replaced with leucine alone. As it was found out, the protein formed only by this amino acid will ultimately be dissolved by special enzymes, if not taking isoleucine and valine. After one month of additional BCAA intake, the level of cortisol in the blood of bodybuilders is reduced by fifty percent.

One of the best sources of branched-chain amino acids is whey protein, which should be taken both before and after training. However, care must be taken to ensure that the serum is of good quality and contains at least seven to twelve grams of leucine per serving.

BCAA - video review